Publications

The math learning gap: Preparing stem technicians for the new rural economy

The Rural Educator

Hobart L. Harmon & Sandy C. Wilborn

Harmon, H. L. & Wilborn, S. C. (2016). The math learning gap: Preparing stem technicians for the new rural economy. The Rural Educator, 37(3), 26-40. Read here

The Rural Math Excel Partnership (RMEP) identified math competencies used by technicians in the workplace compared to standards of learning required in the public school curriculum. A modified DACUM process revealed 39 math competencies used by technicians in STEM-related occupations of the rural region. Group interviews with faculty in three community colleges helped substantiate math gaps. A project math specialist and team of teachers identified four types of learning gaps: (1) math competencies not included in state standards; (2) math competencies included in state standards taught prior to Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, and Algebra Functions and Data Analysis (AFDA) courses; (3) math competencies included in high school state standards that students struggle to learn; and (4) math competencies community college students struggle to learn. Implications include five lessons learned in the gap analysis process and six questions for guiding future innovation and research.